To Vaccinate or Not

 

Edited by Sanjana Hira

 

*This piece is a completion of secondary research and it contains only my opinion. It in no way aims to push the readers to vaccinate/not.

 

         2020 is over and the pandemic isn’t? Didn’t we all just automatically assume that the minute the clock struck 12 on the night of December 31st, the world would automatically become a better place? All the horrors of 2020 would magically disappear. The pandemic would be over, the government would get better and maybe our farmers would go back to farming instead of fighting for their lives. But that hasn't been the case; the pandemic is still around despite the illusion that it isn’t (parties in Goa and the Maldives say otherwise). Last I checked, the government has remained unchanged and farmers still sleep in their tractors on cold winter nights hoping for reformed laws. However, there seems to be a light at the end of this very dark tunnel. 10 months later, we finally see glimpses of an injection which is going to supposedly boost normalcy in the world again. Now, we see that half of the world's population has already begun their vaccination process and India is not far behind, yet people still remain skeptical about injecting their body with a mystery dose that supposedly surpassed its creation period. What is this skepticism about? Is the vaccine more concerning than the disease itself? If not the vaccine, then what?

 

          This skepticism surrounding the vaccine stems from a couple of reasons. First, the time taken to manufacture the dose is mind-blowing. The first case of COVID-19 was registered in November 2019 and the first dose of the vaccine was ready in December 2020. This is an eleven month period which is quick to say the least. Usually, vaccines take at least 5-15 years to manufacture and it takes an even longer period for distribution to begin. In the case of COVID-19, the process has been fast tracked. Here is where the unfamiliarity begins. How did the vaccine develop so quickly when the usual estimated time is no less than a decade? A Huffpost article published in December 2020 clears all questions. Funding is a huge hurdle in the case of producing vaccines – this was not a problem in the case of the COVID-19 strain. Governments and large firms pledged billions of dollars to push out a vaccine. In the case of the United States of America, the government managed to devote 10 billion dollars to deal with this emergency. Similarly, the COVID-19 strain isn't unique. There has been research pertaining to similar strains which created a foundation which ultimately helped scientists to begin work on the vaccine, thus, fast tracking the process. Nevertheless, as the article points out as well, there are pros and cons to everything. The vaccine may have negative side effects but it is not a blanket rule that a quickly produced vaccine is bad.

 

          Another reason that should be pointed out, though this may refer to the United States in particular, is privacy. Political agendas have led to people questioning their invasion of privacy that the usage of the vaccine may lead to. They fear that there have been underlying agendas of inserting microchips in their body via the insertion of the dose. Though this is just a conspiracy theory with no proof to back the claim, it remains an integral reason towards the lack of enthusiasm to take the vaccine.

 

          Moving matters closer to home, in India, the skepticism stems around an idea we are all too familiar with, the black market. The black market in India is a 1 billion dollar industry. So, it comes as no surprise when people fear receiving the vaccination because of this very market. The manipulation of prices that takes place, fear of receiving a ‘fake’ vaccination and misbeliefs about the pandemic fuel suspicions and fears.

 

Nevertheless, the choice to vaccinate or not is one that every individual holds. Concerns are bound to follow, especially in an emergency situation like the one we are going through but one must make an educated choice when it comes to matters like prevention of this dreaded strain. After all, isn't the vaccination a safer bet than COVID-19 itself?